Scottish Premiership
Ross CountyRoss County1CelticCeltic4

Ross County 1-4 Celtic: Neil Lennon's side win 10th game in row

By Stefan Bienkowski BBC Sport Scotland

Celtic earned their 10th consecutive victory in all competitions by beating Ross County to maintain their place at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

Ryan Christie converted a penalty at the second attempt after Lewis Morgan was fouled, then he coolly restored the lead just before the break after Ross Stewart's header had levelled.

Tom Rogic and Mikey Johnston netted after the interval as Celtic took their tally to 37 points from a possible 42 - a total matched by rivals Rangers, who thrashed Hearts later on Sunday.

County had a late effort by Stewart disallowed for offside, but the Dingwall side are now nine games without a win and remain eighth, three points clear of bottom spot.

Sparkling Christie downs County

Any concerns over the creative and clinical capacity of Celtic's attacking line without Odsonne Edouard were quickly removed by the speed and tenacity of Christie and Lewis Morgan.

With just five minutes on the clock, Morgan took on two defenders down Celtic's right only to be clumsily tripped by Keith Watson. Christie looked poised to deliver the dead ball into the crowded box, but instead he opted to try and tuck it inside the front post, smacking the woodwork with his attempt.

The Highlanders weren't afforded as much good fortune six minutes later when a poor clearance bobbled to the feet of Morgan, who duly nipped past Watson before a late tackle caught the Celtic player. Christie again stepped up and, although his initial shot was saved by Nathan Baxter, he comfortably tapped home the rebound. Celtic had their opening goal.

An onslaught from the Scottish champions seemed likely, but County were offered a rare respite from waves of attack when Jeremie Frimpong brought Stewart down in pursuit of a long punt up the park.

Most of Josh Mullin's 15 assists in last season's Scottish Championship came from crosses and it was his set-piece that curled over the Celtic defence and towards Stewart, who headed home. It was an inch-perfect cross for a striker who now has nine goals to his name this season.

Ryan Christie

The unexpected response seemed to unsettle Celtic, but within 15 minutes, the visitors struck once more. Again, the ingenuity and finishing of Christie was on show, alighting upon Kristoffer Ajer's pass through the middle and sliding past Baxter with his left foot to ensure Celtic's led at half-time.

Although Celtic didn't bring the same attacking threat to the second half as they did in the first, they still did enough to turn the game further in their favour.

Just before the hour, Callum McGregor cannoned an effort against a post and, shortly afterwards, Morgan started the move the yielded a third goal. The forward darted down the left and cut the ball across County's six-yard box. Greg Taylor dummied, Christie flicked it on, then Rogic ended the move with a deflected shot inside the back post.

Lennon introduced Johnston and, within two minutes, the forward picked up the ball on the left and jinked between two defenders with ease before angling into the far corner of the net. A signature goal from the young attacker.

County would have a seemingly legitimate goal ruled out when Stewart's finish was disallowed because Brian Graham had been offside when the initial cross was made. But a consolation goal would not have masked another poor result for the promoted side.

Man of the match - Ryan Christie

BBC Scotland's Eilidh Davies at Global Energy Stadium

Christie proved to be hugely influential. The 24-year-old hit the bar early on, scored twice, and was involved in the third goal, scored by Rogic.

His movement and work-rate paid dividends for the Parkhead side and he is now the top scorer for Neil Lennon's side this term with 15 goals. Hard to believe that, little over a year ago, he was a bit-part player at Celtic.

'He has got it completely wrong' - reaction

Ross County co-manager Stuart Kettlewell: "We feel we should have had a second goal today. I'm not saying it impacted the result but it's a massive frustration. I think the guy has got it completely wrong.

"Ross Stewart is clearly onside, Brian Graham is clearly walking back away from the goal. It's not that it would have got us back in the game, the goal difference is a crucial part of the season."

Celtic manager Neil Lennon: "We were a constant threat. We had to work at breaking them down, but the longer the game went on we looked like we got stronger, more powerful and penetrating as well.

"In the end four goals is a very good total away from home but it could have been more."

Line-ups

Ross County

Formation 5-4-1

  • 21Baxter
  • 18Foster
  • 5Morris
  • 15Watson
  • 4FontaineBooked at 29mins
  • 3Kelly
  • 14Mullin
  • 16Spence
  • 24Paton
  • 27Stewart
  • 8ErwinSubstituted forGrahamat 64'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Laidlaw
  • 2Fraser
  • 7Gardyne
  • 9Mckay
  • 19Graham
  • 20Spittal
  • 23Chalmers

Celtic

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 67Forster
  • 30FrimpongBooked at 23mins
  • 2Jullien
  • 35Ajer
  • 3Taylor
  • 8Brown
  • 42McGregorSubstituted forBittonat 81'minutes
  • 17Christie
  • 18RogicSubstituted forJohnstonat 72'minutesBooked at 73mins
  • 49Forrest
  • 16MorganSubstituted forGriffithsat 76'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Gordon
  • 6Bitton
  • 9Griffiths
  • 11Sinclair
  • 13Bauer
  • 19Johnston
  • 41Robertson
Referee:
Nick Walsh
Attendance:
6,512

Match Stats

Home TeamRoss CountyAway TeamCeltic
Possession
Home26%
Away74%
Shots
Home2
Away21
Shots on Target
Home2
Away7
Corners
Home0
Away11
Fouls
Home13
Away8

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Ross County 1, Celtic 4.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Ross County 1, Celtic 4.

  3. Post update

    Attempt blocked. James Forrest (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

  4. Post update

    Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Liam Fontaine.

  5. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Ryan Christie.

  6. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Ryan Christie (Celtic) left footed shot from long range on the right is blocked. Assisted by James Forrest.

  7. Post update

    Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Sean Kelly.

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Michael Johnston (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Christopher Jullien.

  9. Post update

    Attempt saved. Brian Graham (Ross County) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Sean Kelly.

  10. Post update

    Offside, Ross County. Richard Foster tries a through ball, but Brian Graham is caught offside.

  11. Post update

    Offside, Celtic. Scott Brown tries a through ball, but Leigh Griffiths is caught offside.

  12. Post update

    Jeremie Frimpong (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Brian Graham (Ross County).

  14. Substitution

    Substitution, Celtic. Nir Bitton replaces Callum McGregor.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Ryan Christie (Celtic).

  16. Post update

    Harrison Paton (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Greg Taylor (Celtic).

  18. Post update

    Josh Mullin (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left misses to the right. Assisted by Kristoffer Ajer with a through ball.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Scott Brown (Celtic).

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic1412114483637
2Rangers1412114383537
3Aberdeen158432317628
4Motherwell158162522325
5Kilmarnock156451717022
6Hibernian154742327-419
7Livingston153571623-714
8Ross County153571734-1714
9Hamilton152671527-1212
10Hearts142571525-1011
11St Mirren1532101121-1011
12St Johnstone142571333-2011
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